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Steelers-Panthers Recap

Things didn’t start off too promising but eventually things fell the Steelers way as the team goes down to Carolina and wins with relative ease, 37-19.

The Good – The running game, the run blocking. Bell and then Blount in mop up duty. Both rushed for over 100 yards. Bell continues to be a big surprise, showing some great patience and some sweet cuts. The highlight of course was the 81 yard run, the longest run in the NFL this year and the longest Steeler run in over 40 years. Not too shabby!

– Ben wasn’t asked to do as much as usual but played well, especially as the game progressed, his best play was the sidearm special to Brown in the back of the endzone.

– Antonio Brown continues to be money, highlights include a great over the shoulder grab on a 3rd down, deep in Steelers territory. Huge play. The drive eventually resulted in 3 points for the Steelers. As mentioned, Brown’s TD snag in the back of the endzone. Finished with 10 grabs and 2 TD’s.

– The defense had by far it’s best game of the season. Specifically the front 7, which managed to get constant pressure on Cam Newton. Some highlights included Cam Heyward’s one arm pull down of Newton (nullified by offsetting penalties), LB Arthur Moats and NT Steve McLendon getting great pressure and snagging a sack each. The pressure was constant throughout the game which has been MIA until tonight’s game. Great to see.

– Wasn’t thrown to a lot but Markus Wheaton continues to look reliable when given the chance. Wheaton actually caught a TD pass but was ruled out of bounds before the catch. Looked to be dubious but it was overturned.

– LB Sean Spence, filling in for an injured Shazier, looked really good in run support.

– Steelers get their first turnover of the season as Newton lost the ball as he went back to throw. Later, Shamarko Thomas forced a fumble on a punt return which was eventually recovered for a TD. Hopefully Thomas will be given some playing time with the defense.

The Bad – Steelers got off to a pretty rough start. The offense’s first drive compromised of a wasted timeout (again), a penalty and 5 minutes taken off the clock after moving just 20 yards before punting (with a false start penalty to boot). Pass protection continued to be an issue early on which resulted in some stalled drives.

– First defensive play resulted in an easy 19 yard pass play for the Panthers as rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin was WIDE open on the play. This continued for some of the 1st half before the Steelers front 7 took over and managed to pressure Newton into some rushed throws. Newton looked to be injured throughout the game and had a number of inaccurate throws to some fairly open receivers.

– On a Carolina punt, a Steelers gunner is almost hit by the punt near the Steelers GL. Very dumb and lucky the ball wasn’t touched.

– Antonio Brown deciding to return a punt from the 5 yard line and he doesn’t get far. In addition, a block in the back penalty is called resulting in the Steelers starting on the 7 yard line. The good news is the Steelers managed to put together an impressive drive resulting in 3 points.

– CB Cortez Allen was picked on early and often. His coverage was mostly solid although he had issues breaking up a number of passes. His low point of the game was allowing TE Greg Olsen to beat him on an out resulting in a long TD reception.

– Some of the playcalling, especially early on was pretty hit and miss and fairly inconsistent.

The Ugly – Lawrence Timmons inuring fellow teammate Ike Taylor’s arm, likely ending his season and maybe his career. It was an ugly and dumb play by Timmons. Timmons was just going full steam ahead on the play, trying to be aggressive which is understandable but you still have to be aware of what’s going on.

– The Steelers TE Palmer getting called for an offensive pass interference penalty on a 1st and goal from the 1 yard line. Simply amazing. Penalty was bullshit but still amazing.

– All the flags, I’m tired of it, no more please.

Summary – A great win on the road. The Steelers next two opponents are likely the two worst teams in the NFL (Bucs and Jags) so let’s see if this team can get on a roll. The key is taking what worked and continuing that which has been a big problem under Tomlin. Consistency, cutting down on dumb mistakes and penalties, a coherent gameplan. Will it happen? We’ll see but Steelers have to be feeling pretty good right now.

And finally, new shirts! Get ’em hot and fresh! Hot and fresh!

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